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Wichita Community Leaders, Activists React To Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson

Sean Sandefur

Community leaders gathered in Wichita Tuesday morning in reaction to the events in Ferguson, Missouri - where a white police officer won't be indicted in the killing of an unarmed black teenager. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports…

Members of the Greater Wichita Ministerial League, local activists and politicians stood beside Pastor Wade Moore, who says he believes it’s an injustice that a grand jury decided against criminal charges for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. He says incidents of young black men being killed by police officers are happening throughout the country.

“We stand together today against this over-aggressive behavior,” Moore says. “They do not value the lives of our young men.”

Credit Sean Sandefur
Pastor Kevass Harding of Dellrose United Methodist Church also spoke at the event. Harding is part of a group of people working with the city of Wichita to improve police and community relations

Also in attendance were two sisters of Icarus Randolph, a Marine suffering from post traumatic stress disorder who was shot and killed by a Wichita police officer back in July. Elisa Allen says she understands what Michael Brown’s family is going through and agrees with them that rioting and looting aren’t the answer.

“But I will say, when emotions are high and people are upset and feel like justice is not being served, people act out,” Allen says.

Her sister Ida Allen says she’s elated by the recent announcements from the city of Wichita, including body cameras for all police officers by the end of next year and increased training in crisis prevention and mental illness. She’s hopeful they will make a difference.

Community members signed a letter that will be sent to Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett, which listed a number officer-involved shooting deaths in the Wichita area. The letter asks Bennett to address what they see as a racial bias in local law enforcement.

Below is the letter sent to Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett